Not only do we have the warm summer days to look forward to, but Pride Month is here!
It’s a chance for LGBTQ+ communities and allies to come together to embrace their identities and celebrate the progress that has been made towards equal rights.
As a brand, Protein World stands as an ally to our LGBTQ+ community by increasing awareness and spreading the message that love comes in all forms, and all love is beautiful!
It’s the 21st century! LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces should exist, right? All people are equal, all people deserve to work in an environment that supports their choices.
We were shocked to find that “more than a third of LGBTQ+ staff still choose not to disclose their sexual orientation at work for fear of discrimination.” (Training Journal, 2021)
The statistics sound bad, don’t they? And they are. But what sits behind the numbers is even worse. The many talented, valued members of staff hiding their true selves or living a lie in fear of judgement.
This begs the question, where do those employers that wish to create diverse and inclusive businesses start? What can they do to lead the charge and be a voice for change?
The answer lies in tackling uninformed ignorance and constantly challenging deep-rooted and innate ways of thinking in the workplace. This is crucial if we’re to see further progress and to avoid a tick-box approach.
Creating a culture of diversity is not about emphasising the rights of a single community. It’s simply about being all-inclusive, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, political and religious views, or any other personal characteristics.
Although we’ve come a long way since the 1960s, we still have a long way to go to abolish ignorance, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Here are five actions employees and employers can consider to help create equality for LGBTQ workers:
1. Include pronouns in your internal manuals, training documents, social media accounts and e-signatures
Imagine starting a new position, reading the training manuals and seeing pronouns next to all of your colleagues’ names. It’s a very small edit that takes less than a minute but will ease that LGBTQ+ person’s mind instantly, allowing them to feel relaxed, accepted and comfortable knowing this business understands inclusivity.
Asking for someone’s preferred pronouns should be second nature, but for many it is an afterthought. This can put non-binary and transgender people in an uncomfortable situation and cause unnecessary trauma. This pride month consider adding all of your employees’ preferred pronouns to their email signature, to normalise not assuming someone’s gender.
Showing your support on social media is arguably the most visible way to spread awareness.
You can add your pronouns to your LinkedIn profile or get involved with Instagram’s latest feature, which allows you to add your gender identity to your profile. To do so, simply tap ‘Edit Profile’ below your profile information, then tap ‘Pronouns’ and fill in your defined words.
Even if you’re cisgender, and you identify with the sex assigned to you at birth, adding these pronouns is an important show of solidarity as it normalises discussions around gender.
2. Remove the Male/Female signs from your toilets and embrace gender neutrality
Going to the loo, might seem like a black & white process for many. The only problem some face is making it in time! However, for others it can be an uncomfortable experience when forced to choose between a male or female sign. Removing the gender choice may seem trivial, but for transgender and non-binary employees it is incredibly empowering. It reduces the everyday stress caused by gendered toilets and make it easier for all staff to find an available bathroom.
3. Book an LGBTQ+ speaker to educate your team and embrace gender neutrality
What better time to hire an LGBTQ+ speaker, than pride month? When you book an LGBT speaker, you are investing in your workplace’s inclusivity. You are telling your LGBTQ+ staff that you care about their experiences, their happiness and their identity. An LGBTQ+ speaker will relate to their struggles, and open the eyes of their straight colleagues, leading to unity and understanding.
4. Mind your language
We’re all familiar with office small talk, right? Chatting about the weekend, your family and partners is a conversation cisgender employees have most Monday mornings with ease.
However, this can be an added stressor for non-binary & transgender workers as heteronormative statements such as “Does your husband surf?” can leave an LGBTQ+ employee in an awkward position if they don’t identify with being in a heterosexual relationship. Switch this statement for “Does your partner surf” to avoid pressuring your colleague into correcting you or feeling uncomfortable. Another phrase you can switch out is instead of saying “Ladies & Gentlemen” instead say “Hi everyone” avoiding a binary assumption.
5. Challenge your unconscious bias
While this is a personal internal challenge, it can have enormously positive effects on your perception and actions when stepping foot into the office. Even if you feel like you don’t practise harmful behaviours, part of being an ally is also calling out unacceptable behaviour from friends and colleagues when you see or hear it. Essentially, we can all evoke positive change on a micro-level.
Making sure recruitment panels are representative is a great place to start when tapping into unconscious biases especially within recruitment. It’s been proven that we hire people in our own image, so this is a really simple win.
Wearing something small to show you can be approached to discuss an issue for example wearing a rainbow lanyard to increase your accessibility and openness. Having these visual cues on show does more to create a welcoming workplace than many other measures. Just knowing the allies are available goes a long way towards making everyone feel welcome and they act as a prompt to always challenge engrained thinking.
So, what’s the key to ensuring your workplace is progressive? It’s about constant improvement and awareness – not doing some training and forgetting about it or writing a policy and filing it away.
This is our opportunity to recognise, celebrate, and honour every member of the LGBTQ+ community. For your LGBTQ+ employees, inclusion can mean the difference between feeling understood and feeling excluded, emotions that can impact their confidence and performance. Self-assured LGBTQ+ staff are key to business innovation.
To celebrate Pride Month we have created a new flavour to tickle your taste buds!
“Tutti Fruiti” Slender blends the taste of summer with mango, pineapple & coconut aromas.
Here’s a bonus Tropical Tutti Fruiti Smoothie Recipe (to check you’re still reading) enjoy!
Yummy Smoothie Recipe
3/4 Cup Pineapple juice
1/2 Cup Light coconut milk
1 Cup Frozen mango
1 Cup Frozen pineapple
- Grace Willoughby, The Protein World Team